Literature / Save The Pearls
Save The Pearls
is a two-book young-adult series written by American author Victoria Foyt, about a post-apocalyptic dystopian future in which black people have taken over and white people are a persecuted minority. The first book in the series, Revealing Eden
, was published in 2012. The second book, Adapting Eden
, was published in 2013.
This series provides examples of:
- Artistic License – Biology: In the post-apocalyptic world in which the books take place, the Coals have become the majority because they have more melanin, and thus have more resistance to the sun, and an innate resistance to skin cancer ("the heat"). While it's true that darker skin does give increased protection from the sun, the author tends to treat it as a blanket immunity, which is an attitude that in real life has lead to preventable deaths when cancer isn't recognized as early in people of color as it would have been for white people.
- Artistic License – Religion: The Huaorani tribe is shown worshiping warped versions of the Aztec gods (see Sadly Mythtaken below), when in real life the Huaorani practiced shamanism and animism rather than worshiping specific deities. Also, it's highly unlikely that an Ecuadorian tribe is going to be worshiping gods from an ancient Mexican and Central American nation.
- Blackface: Because of the prejudice against them, the Pearls resort to wearing blackface in public in order to try and fit in. At one point, the reader is told about a minstrel show wherein the performers wear "white face".
- Broken Aesop:
- The series is ostensibly a fable about the foolishness of racism, set in a world where an environmental catastrophe has left melanin content as a prized thing, with blacks on top and whites on the bottom, with an interracial romance to drive home the point. What it is, however, is a series where white people are called "Pearls" and blacks are called "Coals," the white female lead starts off severely uncomfortable around black people (to the point of using slurs like "haughty Coal" in inner monologue), white people often wear blackface to "pass," the white lead is threatened with rape at the hands of a giant black man, and the love story is described as a "Beauty and the Beast" fable where the black love interest literally turns into a beast thanks to genetic engineering.
- Also in regards to Bramson, his being turned into a chimera is treated as him having a chance to understand what it's like to experience being a social pariah...except that he was one of the most fair characters in the cast (protecting Eden multiple times from black people trying to kill her, hiring a white woman for a good position as stewardess of his private jet after her husband died in Branson's service, etc). Eden is the one who constantly misconstrues his actions as having ulterior motives.
- But Not Too Black: One of the many, many reasons that series fell down flat on its face with its message about the pains of racism. So it's far in the future, blacks are on top culturally, whites are on the bottom, and as a result, the standards of beauty lean black... and yet when white girls "pass" as black (using, yes, exactly the means you think they do), they've still got some pretty damn straight hair.
- Food Pills: The entire population seems to subsist on carbohydrate, protein, and fat pills. No mention is made of vitamin pills, so why all the characters aren't dead of scurvy is anyone's guess.
- Hollywood Science: The premise relies heavily upon a poor understanding of how things like solar radiation, and gene splicing work.
- Persecution Flip: In the post-apocalyptic future presented in the books, the white minority ("Pearls") are oppressed by the black majority ("Coals") after ozone depletion kills off people with low melanin. The pearls have to wear blackface in public. The author, incidentally, is white.
- Sadly Mythtaken: Aztec mythology gets properly butchered in this book. Bramford is hailed by the native tribe as "El Tigre," the jaguar god prophesied to return to rule again. Ignoring the fact that it's unlikely that a South American tribe would call their jaguar god "the tiger", the Aztec god associated with the jaguar was actually called Tezcatlipoca, while the Aztec god prophesied to return again was Quetzalcoatl. Likewise, a snake goddess from Aztec mythology, Coatlicue, is appropriated as the Huaorani guardian of the afterlife, when Coatlicue was actually a mother goddess in the original mythology.
- Where The White Women At: Inverted. "Pearls" are the ones chasing "Coals" to marry, and apparently they're kicked out of society if they are not "mated" by 18. Strangely, it's never really explained why the white people don't just reproduce with each other or why they're ejected at 18 if they're not married. It creates strange contradictions like Eden calling for Pearl equality and independence but practically throwing up at the idea of mating with one of her own.